All entries for Thursday 01 March 2012

March 01, 2012

Group Decision making…how effective is it?

Earlier I felt that group decision making is not at all useful and is a waste of time and energy and a single person should take a decision. On MBE, I realized how important it is to have different views and perspectives to a single problem and how it may help generate so many alternatives so that you could be confident that you have looked at all possibilities and considered them properly. But now, RDM has shown some light on the problems that exist in the groupthink as well and how one may try to tackle them so that it really becomes as efficient as we consider it to be.

Well there has been a lot of debate whether working in a group is the right way to take a decision and even under that there are a lot of options like leader being autocratic in taking the decision, then leader consulting with the group and taking a decision, taking a decision in a democratic way where everyone's vote is counted as equal, or else making a situation where each group member tells his points to the leader and to each other and then finally leader takes a decision based on his judgement and the information he has gained from his group members.

Generally, there a lot of problems associated with groupthink.The major problems include that when the majority of the members are having one point of view, the minority or it could be a case where one person find it difficult to put forward an opposite view which may be of relevance and the group loses out on a very important consideration while making the decision.

Also, there may be the case where an introvert person who generally finds it difficult to speak in groups may hold back his views or any doubts back in his mind and the group remain unaware of his considerations. Furthermore, there may be a case where the group members are from different departments and might be biased in their point of views and might exagerrate on certain things that would be a positive for their department but not for the organization as a whole.

We need to take into account all these factors when we are deciding to depend on a group to come to a decision. Generally, in group decisions it is preffered not to have the democratic or the extreme autocratic decision making as democratic decision may be wrong and may contain a lot of biasedness and autocratic is just the opposite of group thinking anyways. So, it is best to have a group making a decision where everyone is putting forward to every other member and the leader itself and the final decsion is made by the leader based on the the learning from what he hears from his group members in an unbiased ay. Also, it is important to have a devil's avocate in a group who challenges any points put forward by the other members so that whosoever puts forward a point can really make others understand his point of view and the leader can be sure if that person really has a logic behind it or not. Also, it gives the leader an opposite view to consider and he can see both sides of the coin while making the decision.

So, a group consultative method I feel should work in the majority of the situations and can help reach group the most optimal decision based on the data and facts available.


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